cover image Desper Hollow

Desper Hollow

Elizabeth Massie. Apex, $14.95 trade paper (220p) ISBN 978-1-937009-14-4

Though Massie (Sineater) is an adept and imaginative fashioner of setting and character, her zombie thriller promises more than it delivers. Granny Mustard, the feared matriarch of Desper Hollow, cooks up a particularly nasty brew of moonshine that returns the dead to life. Her great-granddaughter Suze tries to stop the spread of it by reducing the adjacent town of Beaver Dam to ash, while Suze’s sister Jenkie tries to launch a reality TV show, Jenkie Mustard and Her Monsters What Come Back to Life. Massie abruptly takes a turn for the serious as a local preacher and his daughter try to set things right, and one of the recently arisen zombies, Armistead, begins hearing voices. Jenkie, originally entertaining and gutsy in a darkly bizarre way, is reduced to a mumbling extra from white-trash central casting, while her aghast television producer becomes a sudden action hero. A final crisis of faith and improbable revelation drown all the preliminary exuberance in overwrought exposition, inspiring only a longing for what this had the potential to be. (June)